On Monday, Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of Sochi, shared some surprising insight to the BBC about the Russian city that will be hosting the Winter Olympics next month.
Pakhomov told BBC reporter, John Sweeney, that he’s not too concerned about the country’s awful anti-gay laws because… well, there are no gay people in Sochi.
“It’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city,” he said.
Oh really? That must have been quite the shock for Sweeny, who had actually been to a gay bar in Sochi the night prior to interviewing the mayor. When Pakhomov was challenged about the existence of LGBTs in Sochi, he said, “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”
Turns out, Sochi not only has gay people but it has enough to have a tiny, little, secret scene with two gay bars, drag shows and dancing in underwear.
“There are very many clubs for gay people in Moscow,” local drag queen Madame Zhu-Zha told the BBC. “In Sochi we have two gay clubs as well. In some places there’s serious prejudice against gay people. In other places it’s not as bad.”